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Elementary School Model

World Class Elementary Education

The Elementary School Model has been implemented in six elementary schools.

Elementary School Model Overview

Elementary School Model Board Report

How parents can help nuture learning engagement

Students thrive when they are held to high expectations in a supportive environment. Parents can nurture their child's engagement in learning by asking questions at home, such as:

  • How did your teacher encourage you to ask questions today?
  • How does your teacher make you feel important?
  • How did your teacher show you she/he cared for you today?
  • What did your teacher do to encourage you to do your best work?

Learn more about the elementary curriculum

Recent News Coverage

About the Instructional Program

Vision 2018: Filling the Promise of Preparation was developed by capitalizing on the expertise of more than 2,400 stakeholders, including students, staff, families, and community members. It defines an educational program that inspires and engages students and nurtures the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of the whole child. Vision 2018 outlines a new era in teaching and learning in Howard County schools.

A new HCPSS model for elementary education brings the principles of Vision 2018 to life for students in Pre-K through Grade 5. The new elementary model was implemented in six schools during the 2014-2015 school year, and two schools were added in the 2015-16 school year. It will be refined and expanded, based on the success of the program. In its initial phase, the new model comprises several exciting components that are rigorous, globally-relevant, and engaging.

View Vision 2018: Fulfilling the Promise of Preparation

View the Elementary School Model schools

Expanding Pre-Kindergarten

Vision 2018 Outcomes:

  • 1.2.1 Provide equitable access to rigorous coursework Pre-K-12, including Gifted and Talented, Advanced Placement, and world language.
  • 1.2.2 Strengthen programs and initiatives that focus on eliminating achievement gaps.

Research shows that high quality early learning experiences provide long-term benefits. These experiences happen at home, in the community, and in educational settings. The new elementary education model incorporates full-day prekindergarten for eligible students who may not otherwise have access to these experiences. The curriculum prepares students with the social and intellectual skills they need to be ready for learning in kindergarten, and sets the stage for success that continues through school and later in life.

World Language

Vision 2018 Outcomes

  • 1.1.6: Develop robust world language instruction and international learning opportunities K-12

Research shows that learning a second language in the early grades gives young children a boost in intellectual growth and academic achievement. Students learn to think more flexibly, sharpen their listening and memory skills, and appreciate other cultures as they gain fluency in a world language.

The new elementary education model includes world language instruction for all students beginning in prekindergarten. Children will receive 30 minutes of Spanish language instruction each day, leading to intermediate level language proficiency by the end of Grade 5.

FAQ about the Elementary World Language program

World Language “Did You Know?” Presentation

See how World Language instruction immerses students in a second language

Strengths Development

Vision 2018 Outcomes:

  • 1.4.2 Actively involve students in long- and short-term goal setting and monitoring of their own performance.
  • 1.8.1 Provide opportunities for students to discover and build upon their strengths and interests.

The new elementary school model incorporates strengths development into the student’s academic experience. Gallup research has identified 10 specific behaviors, or strengths, that are linked directly to a child’s cognitive ability and academic achievement: achieving, discoverer, caring, future thinker, competing, organizer, confidence, presence, dependability, and relating.

One or more of these attributes come naturally to every child. Each child experiences success by using their strengths during daily class activities, and come to view hard work, motivation, and persistence as the means to achievement and growth.

FAQ about Elementary Strengths Development

Dr. Foose provides insight into the importance of focusing on student strengths


Vision 2018 Outcomes

  • 1.1.5: Provide learning opportunities that span multiple subject areas.
  • 1.1.3 Provide learning experiences that promote depth of knowledge.

We envision schools in which every student experiences an appropriate level of challenge through engaging, authentic, and hands-on learning. The departmentalized model reduces the number of content areas assigned to each classroom teacher from four to two. In this model, teachers no longer have to be experts in everything. They can develop deeper, more enriching instruction across their two focus content areas, enhancing the student learning experience.

The new elementary education model incorporates departmentalization into two daily blocks for English language/social studies and mathematics/science/health, with segments for fine arts, physical education, world language, and media/technology rounding out the instructional week.

View our National Journal press coverage

FAQ about Departmentalization


Offered in partnership with Howard County Health Department, school-based telehealth program complements and expands existing school health services through technology that connects a child in school to a health care provider in another location. Telehealth allows children who need health services to be treated in school, so they miss less class time.

FAQ about Telehealth

Telehealth Overview from the National Association of School Nurses

View a demonstration of how the telehealth program works

Student Schedule

HCPSS is committed to maintaining integrity and high expectations for each of our programs, while focusing on what is in the best interest of all students. The elementary school day is six hours and thirty minutes. The additional programming requires a shift in how we schedule the day into instructional blocks.

The schedule includes two-hour blocks to support interdisciplinary instruction:

  1. language arts and social studies
  2. mathematics, science, and health

Students will receive instruction in reading, writing, and technology throughout the school day. Instruction in writing will primarily occur in the language arts and social studies block, with the exception of informational writing, which will be explicitly taught in the mathematics, science, and health block.

Related arts instruction includes art, music, and library/media weekly; as well as physical education twice weekly. The scheduling of GT instructional seminars, instrumental music sectionals, chorus, curriculum extension units, and reading and mathematics interventions will remain unchanged from the way these opportunities are implemented across all HCPSS elementary schools.